Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Performativity of Painting

any day now, 2017, J.A. Nicholls (left).  Postcard, 2017, Selma Parlour (right).

A choreographed meeting.

16 January – 16 February 2018, The Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich Galleries.

Artists: Tobias Buckel, Liz Elton, David Lock, J.A. Nicholls, Selma Parlour, James Pimperton, Rebecca Molloy, Alex Roberts

Painting – the performance of structures, fragments and use of space within the perceived painted frame, and the relating inherent surround.

In bringing together these artists, through their distinct individual accounts and methodologies, the exhibition, The Performativity of Painting offers the opportunity to consider site-specificity, theatrical tropes, depicted surfaces, staging and the interconnectedness of the artwork’s context (in the works’ content and proximity). In this sense, the exhibition will seek to address painting's embodiment of the performative space.  Curator: Alex Roberts 

To access the full press release please download here

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday: 11am-5pm, Saturday: 11am-4pm
Private view: Friday 19 January 2018, 6-8pm 
Artists’ Talk: Saturday 10 February 2018, 1.30-4pm.  To reserve a place please register here

Contact: Gallery Curator, David Waterworth
STEPHEN LAWRENCE GALLERY, University of Greenwich, 10 Stockwell Street, London, SE10 9BD, Tel: 020 8331 995

Curator contact here

We would like to thank Dr. Ken Wilder for his insightful text, written specifically to accompany the exhibition.  For those interested in gaining a copy of the catalogue please contact Alex

Dr. Ken Wilder is an artist and writer. Having practiced and taught architecture, he now makes site responsive installations and films. Based at Chelsea College of Arts, he is the University of the Arts Reader in Spatial Design. He has published widely on issues of reception aesthetics, including Bloomsbury’s 2016 anthology Painting: Critical and Primary Sources.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

New Life Drawing Day Workshop, Drawing Projects UK - 16th November 2017, 09.30-15.30

Drawing Projects UK are delighted to present this special life drawing session.

Life Drawing Session: Two Male Models with Simple Props & Drapery

This one-day life drawing session led by artist-tutor Alex Roberts will provide the opportunity to draw two male life models and to explore how simple props (eg: drapery, masks, blindfolds) add visual meaning and aid symbolism within figurative art. This session will reference compositions from Francisco Goya and Paul Delaroche to George Fredric Watt and John Singer Sargent, and explore drawing style and language relevant to the subject matter.

Twelve places are available, for adults of all levels of ability. For further information and secure a place please click here

Image credit and © 2017 Drawing Projects UK

Control To Collapse, Blyth Gallery: 22 November 2017 - 3 January 2018

Contacts: Rebecca Byrne: rbyrneblack@gmail.comLiz Elton:

Imperial College, Sherfield Building, Level 5, South Kensington Campus, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2AZ

“Paint records the most delicate gesture and the most tense… Paint is a cast made of the painter‟s movements, a portrait of the painter‟s body and thoughts.” James Elkin, What Painting Is, 1955 

The 'gesture' is defined as a movement, usually conveyed by the hand or head, that expresses an idea or meaning. When accompanied with speech, it can articulate, emphasise, create humour or angst. In painting, the gesture has a loaded his-tory. Most commonly associated with the abstract expressionists like Willem De Kooning, Lee Krasner or Joan Mitchell, it held alchemical accord, with the ability to imbue painting with the emotional charges of joy, anger or melancholy directly from the artist’s hand. Now emptied of those grand accreditations, the gesture takes on a more functional role. In an age of image proliferation, the gesture is a unique device or mode of language that is crucial in relaying a painter’s conceptual concerns. 

The artists in Control to Collapse feel, interpret and respond to the viscosity of pigment and the absorbency of surface to find painterly gestures that take an active role in conveying meaning. Through this tactile connection with their materials, these artists draw on bodily intellect and let muscular memory guide the application of paint. They are acutely conscious of the gestural act as a device for communication and find movements and motions that allow ideas to be soaked into the surface of their work. 

This exhibition navigates a variety of gestural acts, from an intricate slicing that causes oils to take on the healing qualities of flesh; to broad swathes of paint that engulf the gallery and interrogate the psychological qualities of the spaces we in-habit; or rapid washes of thinned oils that create aqueous scenes of transparent and luscious landscapes of vegetation to address politically charged themes of excessive water consumption. It explores the gesture’s role in communicating the wider concepts explored in the featured artists’ respective practices. 
Niamh White

Control to Collapse is curated by Rebecca Byrne and Liz Elton, the title aiming to encapsulate the range of gestures these nine artists employ, from the tightly controlled to a point where the gesture is undermined and almost allowed to disappear. Under the name ‘PaintUnion’, Rebecca and Liz have collaborated on a number of talks about painting and other projects, including ‘Pool’ at Griffin Gallery and PIY PaintLounge at Sluice Biennial (with Wendy Saunders and Paula McArthur of paintbritain). They are very grateful to Niamh White, co-founder of Hospital Rooms and founder of the Den-tons Art Prize for writing Control to Collapse’ introductory text. 

Download the full press release here

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Positive review: "Drinking in the messages", Stations of Water, St. Paul's Cathedral

Positive review, #Stations of Water @StPaulsLondon @StPaulsInst thanks to @The_Tablet  access here

Overlooked - Stations of Water, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London - extended until 28th October

Overlooked, 2017
The painting triptych, Overlooked, made up of Reflective Hope, Wish/Cleanse, and Reveal, gains its inspiration from the physical properties of water - transparency and reflection.

Image credit: Graham Lacado 
Image credit: Laurin Gutwin

The two paintings, Reflective Hope and Wish/Cleanse displayed on the panelled stone walls are images of visitors that Alex may have seen while visiting the cathedral. One, a member of the public/congregation grasping a momentary pause, possibly listening to clerical words shared, while the other, a tourist, listens, to an informational audio guide on his walk-through of the space. Both instances allude to St. Paul’s daily use.

Image credit: Laurin Gutwin
Alex is also aware that despite St Paul’s holding a position and physicality of vastness, a symbol of immensity, it also serves as intimate personal space for the individual; allowing people to bring their personal concerns forward. Thus, the final, more hidden work, Reveal, hangs close to the former works, beneath the neighbouring roundel. Suspended between the ground floor and the crypt, the painting hangs in opposition to the previous subjects. Together they look eastwards towards the apse, they ‘give their backs’ to the piece below.

Reveal, drifting above the laid tombs, honoured heroes of news serves a painted, narrative association to current global social/political concerns. Is this an innocent that our contemporary, global waters have washed up from fleeing political struggle? Do we offer our backs to such a need?
Image credit: Graham Lacado
Image credit: Graham Lacado

The artist would like to thank The Eaton Fund, who helped support the making of these works.

For more information about the exhibition and Just Water 2017 campaign please visit St.Paul's Institute's website

Monday, 25 September 2017

MOCA London at PIAF 2017, Frieze Week

Copeland Park & Bussey Building, 133 Copeland Road, London, SE15 3SN
Opening hours Saturday 30 September - Thursday 5 October 12.00-19.00

Colour Panel, 2017  Pigment and oil on wood, 22 x 20cm.  
Image credit: Laurin Gutwin

MOCA London (Stand 1) is part of the Peckham International Art Fair (PIAF) 2017.

"This will mark the debut year of the non-for-profit platform, which seeks to bring together 15 of the most engaging international gallery and curatorial projects under one roof..." MOCA London.

For further details of listed works and artists involved please visit MOCA's website
Planning your visit to the fair, more information can be found at PIAF

The work, Colour Panel is taken from the duo-exhibition with Paul Abbott, What Hat am I Wearing Today? which appeared at MOCA London in September 2017.

The piece accompanied a series of other figural, painted works and Abbott’s sculptural, video and sound forms; a counter balance of colour, abstract motions and fluid identities. These painting ‘stills’ or ‘blanks’ might be seen as flashes of light caught from daily S-Bahn commutes; or swatches of industrial powder-coated colour typically found in the interiors of trains. Built up with thin washes and layers of pigment and paint the palette is the same mix as the figurative work, Late Night Traveller, an image of a commuter on the S-Bahn, with her tattooed layers of ghoulish make-up staring at the viewer/artist.

“For this exhibition enquiry I was drawn to collected observations, snapshots of speculative instants and travellers from my journey’s musings. The paintings are possible portrayals of our personal realities as we too chase our tails while trying to retain our identity within shifting political realities, financial pressures; everyday survival.

I am an artist that lives and works between Berlin and the UK. I work with paint and translucence; addressing paintings’ surface and spatial depth. Testing the sliding scale of figuration and abstraction, my focus is how we perceive identity and change – encounters”.

Alex Roberts 2017

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Stations of Water - St. Paul's Cathedral, 25th September - 27th October 2017

Stations of Waternine artists have created site-specific artworks for a temporary exhibition at St. Paul's Cathedral; part of St. Paul's Institute's, Just Water 2017 campaign. 

For more info please visit St.Paul's Institute's website

As part of the international JustWater 2017 campaign, a group of ten Alumni from Chelsea College of Arts, London, UK working closely with St. Paul’s Cathedral's Schools and Family Learning Department and St Paul’s Institute will stage a project inspired by the theme of water.

The nine artists and one curator come from the UK, Mexico, USA, Spain, Russia and New Zealand. Stations of Water will take place from 25th September through 28th October 2017, and is modelled on the liturgy of the Stations of the Cross. A guide will direct visitors to nine stations, which will all be inspired by water and themes such as religious rituals, access to clean drinking water, pollution, conservation, the privatisation of water, drought, and global warming.

Each Station will be an installation of painting, sculpture, video, sound or light.
Alongside the exhibition, the artists will work with the Cathedral’s Schools and Family Learning Department running art and education projects with visiting primary, secondary and further education groups.

Artists: Paul Abbott (UK), Michelangelo Arteaga (Spain), Marilyn Collins (UK), Kelise Franclemont (USA), Marcela Montoya-Turnill (Mexico), Regan O’Callaghan (New Zealand), James Pimperton (UK), Alex Roberts (UK), Jonathan Slaughter (UK)
Curators: Oksana Smirnova (Russia), Regan O’Callaghan (New Zealand)

Design: Kelise Franclemont

Sunday, 20 August 2017

What Hat am I Wearing Today?

Paul Abbott and Alex Roberts, MOCA London, 3-23 September 2017
Private View: 3rd September, 2-4pm

Open Thursday to Saturday, 2pm - 6pm, or by appointment.

Late Night Traveller, 2017, installation view. Image credit: Laurin Gutwin

To view the press release, or for more info please visit the gallery website

In their duo-exhibition at MOCA London, Paul Abbott and Alex Roberts present What Hat am I Wearing Today?, a multi-media installation exploring the non-stable identity-reality of living and working in the second decade of the 21st century.

The install offers images of the everyday and passed by spectacle alongside fragments of intimate disclosure. The slogan on an ice cream van: often licked, never beaten; a tattooed and made-up commuter caught in the glass of the S-Bahn; someone singing in the shower; a London resident’s narration of his dreams and strategy for survival.

In the setting of MOCA, its contrasting physicality and agenda is echoed in Abbott and Roberts’ exhibition. A space both industrial-modern yet domestic and intimate; cool yet warm; global yet local in its outlook finds parallels in the work. Abbott’s video/sculptural practice and Roberts’s painting practice are pushed into opposition and cohesion. Working independently, yet collaboratively, they aim to explore the possible pathways of contrast and cohesion that can be inferred from their collective installation...

Reflective Stare 1, 2017, detail.  Image credit: Laurin Gutwin
Abbott and Roberts have worked together before. They are interested in how the site-specificity affects their separate and joint work. They are interested in process and the formal aspects of their individual and joint media from the play with paint to a way of framing with the camera; looking at the edge of things; observation in all forms. It should be noted that the install is often the making of the work itself for both artists; testing-trialing- exchanging ideas; a shared discourse whose finalised work centres the viewer in making his/her own threads within and between the artists’ separate elements. For What Hat am I Wearing Today? it’s about daily survival, banal daydreams, the durability of the individual, transient authorship, and questioning the pace of life.

Download the E-catalogue

Relating articles: Lawfully Chic
What Hat am I Wearing Today?  Writer: Lucy Fry

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

INDUSTRIADA, Katowice, Poland, 9-10 June

Following on from Connect:Katowice, the British-Polish, art exchange and final exhibition, presently on show at the Rondo Gallery, Katowice, the alliance of artists, Karina Kaluza, Monika Mysiak and Alex Roberts are additionally to be part of INDUSTRIADA, the Festival of Monuments of Technology on the 9-10 June.

The three-female, painting collective is installing some works at the Historical Museum Katowice, Rymarska Street, Nikiszowiec (a former mining community’s laundry & wash house for women and children). The display's aim is to drape their painted pieces over the old, large wooden drying racks, mangles and linen presses. Kaluza, Mysiak and Roberts feel this is an acute matching and appropriate, site specific way for their working research to be portrayed, involve the viewer; linking them back to the community that initially inspired their Connect:Katowice, exchange conversations.

The Connect: Katowice discourse: for Kaluza, Mysiak and Roberts, fabric and the ‘materiality of painting’ is something they all share. The curiosity to capture the transient nature of our human trace is of equal common importance.

With these two key interests in mind, Roberts initially shared her curiosities with the sense of community, derived from Katowice’s mining heritage she witnessed. They followed this lead and re-visited Nikiszowiec as a group. Their thoughts became anchored from and within this experience.

Setting their works together as a painting installation, a maze of fabrics, not entirely washed out and clean, they are investigating a sensory experience of painting. Fabrics are embroidered, dyed, painted, ruffled, pulled, bringing to mind not necessarily clean, folded and ironed laundry, but an ambiguous collection of cloths that question is this fabric, a painting, laundry, or a series of drifting associations that infer the in-between, or allude to something else? Is this the laundry before washing, leaving clear traces of human human presence, or the over-washed kind, familiarly loved that holds reminisce of human stains not wishing to be seen?

Whether it is the install at the Rondo Gallery, or the previous, testing opportunity shared at the Ply Gallery, London, and now the site-specific display at the Historical Museum Katowice, the painters have
“continued re-looking at local heritage, ancestry; British-Polish past relationships and our present, common European concerns,”
with for Kaluza, Mysiak and Roberts, fabric being the go-between.

For more information about the their exhibition within the museum, and the museum's program of events please click here

Maze of Fabrics, Rondo Gallery June 2017. Image credits: Alex Roberts

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Connect: Katowice - Expo Finale!

Exploring the interplay between the artist, the viewer and the location, surveying the balance between what is outwardly-facing and what we keep to ourselves.* 

Approx. 35 Polish-UK artistic collaborations provide a chance to witness and share the benefits of learning and communicating across cultural and geographic boundaries.

"Connect: Katowice is a year-long collaboration between around 35 British and Polish artists, divided into groups or “Connections”, all aiming to demonstrate the benefits and learning through intercultural communication. The first exhibition in London, December 2016 furthered these relationships and established new ones; now the artists come together again, this time in Katowice, Poland to realise the fruits of 12 months’ collaboration in a new exhibition at the Rondo Gallery in the centre of Katowice".  

For more info please visit

Forthcoming exhibition dates and info for Katowice are accessible via this link

Connect: Katowice is kindly supported by Arts Council England & British Council upon receiving a grant from the Artists' International Development Fund, and Culture Poland.

Follow us @ConnectKatowice

* Author of Concept: Alex Roberts 2015